The visiting Philadelphia Rebels defeated Johnstown last night 3 – 1 to complete a weekend sweep over the Tomahawks and close out the regular season for both teams. The win was the Rebels 41st on the season, tied for second most in the North American Hockey League.
The Rebels finished the regular season winning three straight games and four out of their last five.
Before the game started, both teams joined in unison on the blueline to pay tribute to the fifteen people who died and more than fourteen injured Friday night in a bus crash carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
After the emotional ceremonies had ended, the Tomahawks took an early lead just 4:17 into the first period on Ben Schmidling’s sixteenth goal on the season.
Johnstown’s defenseman Andrew Quetell would intercept an errant Rebels pass out in front of his own net and skate the puck towards center ice and pass it over to Carson Briere on his left. Briere made a cross-ice pass to Schmidling who circled down low and took a sharp angle shot that beat Rebels goalie Eli Billing long side to give the Tomahawks the 1 – 0 lead.
Despite being outshot 13 – 3 and only down by one goal after the first period, the Rebels tied the game just forty-seven seconds into the second period.
Seth Bergeron would win the battle for the puck along the near side boards and send a touch pass to Eric Olson to his right. Olson passed it up to Adam Peck who raced through center ice. As Peck gained the line, he skated towards his right and wristed a shot on goal that went through the five hole of Tomahawks goalie Jack Leavy to tie the game at one. It was Peck’s fourteenth goal on the season.
Schmidling was called for cross checking at 7:20 of the middle stanza to give the Rebels the man advantage.
After Alex Frye took a shot on net that went wide of the net, the puck came up along the near side boards where it was picked up by Auggie Moore. The Edina, MN native would pass it over to Frye at the top of the far side faceoff circle. Frye sent the puck down low to Ryan Patrick who was to the left of Leavy. Patrick passed it out front to Moore who beat a fallen Leavy glove side to give the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead.
Patrick would score an empty net goal with two seconds remaining in the game to give the Rebels the 3 – 1 win.
Billing turned aside 34 of 35 shots while Leavy stopped 18 of 20. Click here for the box score.
The Rebels now will turn their attention to the post season which begins next weekend when the Northeast Generals visit for games one and two of the best of five Robertson Cup divisional semi-final series.